What leagal rights do stepchilden have to real estate if no Willl was left?

UPDATED: Mar 28, 2016

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What leagal rights do stepchilden have to real estate if no Willl was left?

My stepfather recently passed and y mother died years before. My stepsiblings are claiming survivorship on all the real estate, even that of which my stepfather’s name was never on. What are my options?

Asked on March 28, 2016 under Estate Planning, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your stepsiblings are presumably the children of your stepfather. In that case, they most likely inherit his entire estate (everything he had when he died):
1) When there is no will and the spouse (your mother) died prevously, the children inherit the estate, including the real estate.
2) When your mother passed, your stepfather would have become the sole owner of any property owned jointly; would have inherited anything she willed to him; and would have received 1/2 of everything if there was no will, under the rules for "intestate succession." Anything he inherited no passes to them under those intestate succession rules.
If your mother passed without a will, 1/2 of anything she owned which was not jointly owned (like a joint bank account or jointly owned real estate) would go to you, and if she had a will, you received anything she willed to you. Anything you inherited at that time is now yours, and the stepsiblings don't have a claim to it. But if it was his or passed to him when your mother died, it is now theirs, not yours.

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